Dropbox: The New External Hard Drive

Ever wonder where to save all of your important files once the semester has ended?  You have projects you’d like to add to your portfolio and submit to future employers, tons of pictures from parties, ceremonies, sports games, and other special events, and hundreds of new songs added to your iTunes library.  The days of CD-ROMs and floppy disks are long gone.  External hard drives cost upwards of $100.  And trying to keep track of a super tiny USB flash drive can be difficult.  Have no fear; I have found the perfect storage solution for you.

It’s called Dropbox, and it allows you to store your files—music, Word documents, PowerPoints, and pictures—online, on your computer, and even on your smartphone.  You can sign up for free using your email address, and your account starts with 2 gigabytes of storage space, enough for about 500 songs.  You have the option to upgrade your account to Dropbox Pro for an extra 100, 200, or 500 GB of space, but you’ll pay about $1 per GB for that package.

A simpler way to get more space for your Dropbox account is by taking advantage of its “Get free space!” feature.  For every friend that signs up for Dropbox per your invite via email, Facebook, or Twitter, you will receive an extra 500 MB of space (about 90 songs)…and your friend will, too!  You can also take a “tour” of the site, which will give you an extra 250 MB of space once you complete five out of seven steps of the tour.  Connecting your Dropbox account to Facebook or Twitter will earn you 125 MB each, as will following the Dropbox twitter account and tweeting about Dropbox.  For providing a brief statement of feedback, you’ll earn another 125 MB.  These are all simple tasks that you can complete in order to earn more storage space for free.

Dropbox.com

Dropbox.com

The Sharing feature is great for group projects or sharing files with peers, friends, and family.  You can create a folder full of documents, photos, and music files and invite members whom you’d like to share it with.  That folder is then copied to your Dropbox and other members’ Dropboxes, as well.  Each time someone updates the folder, all other members’ folders get updated, too.  This is a convenient, innovative way to compile work for large projects.

The best part about Dropbox is its accessibility.  Not only can you access your Dropbox on the website, you can also create a Dropbox folder on your computer’s hard drive and download the Dropbox app for your Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Kindle Fire.  Every time you drag something to the Dropbox folder on your computer, the Dropbox website and app update to match it.  This means that your Dropbox will look the same and will always hold the same exact files, regardless of how you access it.

Finally, a tip: be sure to update your Dropbox file frequently, whether it be on the website, in a folder on your computer, or on your phone.  If you don’t save your important files to Dropbox, you’ll lose them altogether.  And isn’t that what you were trying to avoid in the first place?

This post was originally published on Tumblr on April 19, 2013.

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